2019 in review Pt. 2

(Editor’s note: In the Dec. 28 edition the top stories from January to May were published. This week stories and photos from May-December 2019 are reviewed.)
Michigan’s suffrage amendment
By Shelby Stewart
Staff Writer
On June 10, 1919, Michigan became one of the first states to ratify the 19th amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote. Michigan was also the first state to guarantee full suffrage for women, unlike other states on June 10 who offered voting in certain elections.
Over the next year, 36 states would ratify the amendment, making it an official part of the United States constitution.
In June 100 years later, Brandon and Groveland townships have passed resolutions to fly the American Suffragette Victory flags in honor of the anniversary of suffragettes fighting for equal voting rights.

Brandon, Goodrich Flint Metro League
By David Fleet
In 2018 the Flint Metro League approved Goodrich, Corunna and Lake Fenton to join beginning at the start of the 2019-2020 season in August.
The move created a 12 team league with two divisions of six schools based on enrollment. Now, with higher enrollment schools are the Stripes Division which include Fenton, Flushing, Holly, Kearsley, Linden and Swartz Creek. The lower school enrollment make up the Stars Division, Brandon, Clio, Corunna, Goodrich, Lake Fenton and Owosso.
The nine game football season includes five division games, three non conference games and a cross over game at the end of the season where the first place Stars Division will play the first place Stripes Division team for the overall championship. Similarly, the number two through six teams in the division will also play.
MMR no longer based in village
By David Fleet
Goodrich-After locating an ambulance in Goodrich on Feb. 1, 2016 officials at Mobile Medical Response or MMR report that due a low volume of calls a unit will no longer be stationed in the village for area calls.
However, they will continue to respond to local calls via mobile units.
Mobile Medical Response is a non-profit, established by St. Mary’s of Michigan and Covenant Health Care in 1994 in an effort to provide emergency medical service in Saginaw County. MMR has since expanded its services to include 15 counties in mid and northern Michigan. Today 100 emergency response vehicles and a staff of almost 600 are employed by MMR.
Due to low call volume, Goodrich and Atlas Township are not covered by an EMS, rather, they depend on nearby private ambulance services from Grand Blanc, Davison and, until January 2015, Groveland Township in case of emergency. As a result, response times in emergency situations have been a concern for township officials for many years.
New village manager named
By Shelby Stewart
Staff Writer
Ortonville- After a three month search, the Village of Ortonville has a new manager, Independence Township resident Dale Stuart.
“We are pleased to have hired a new manager within three months of Bill’s departure, as the last manager was an 8 month search,” said village president Tonja Brice.
Stuart is a licensed attorney, and has been working in government for over 30 years. He has served as both a township trustee and supervisor in Independence township for a total of 20 years, as a manager in Keego Harbor, in Oakland township, and in northern Michigan as well.
Former administrator settles with village
By David Fleet
Goodrich- On Aug. 8, former village administrator/clerk Jakki Sidge settled through mediation with one former and two current village council members after alleged Whistleblower, public policy and Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act violations.
The issue was settled through court ordered mediation by Genesee County Circuit Court Judge F. Kay Behm.
The settlement for the plaintiff is for $250,000.
The defendants filed an acceptance of the case evaluation and declined comment. Terms of the payment were not discussed.
In July 2018, Sidge filed suit against the three councilmembers after her annual contract with the village was not renewed. She had been with the village for more than 25 years.

School AD resigns
By David Fleet
In September, the school board of trustees voted 6-1 to accept the resignation of the Goodrich High School Assistant Principal and Athletic Director Dave Davis. Trustee Jennifer Riggs voted no.
Details of the case were obtained by The Citizen newspaper in a Freedom of Information Act request. Terms of the resignation include that Davis will continue to be paid until Sept. 30, however, he will not come onto Goodrich School property nor shall he attend any Goodrich event within the school district area.
Wayne Wright, interim superintendent provided dismissal charges to board members, which are the result of an investigation into allegations of unprofessional conduct for Davis.
“Mr. Davis resigned while these charges were pending,” wrote Wright. “The Goodrich Board of Education accepted Mr. Davis’ resignation at their meeting on Sept. 23, 2019, without conducting a disciplinary hearing, based on said charges. These charges will remain in Mr. Davis’ personnel file. As the agreement states, the district reserves the right to respond truthfully to an school district inquiry regarding unprofessional conduct, including any request made under MCL.380.123b.”
Crash and dash
By Shelby Stewart
Staff Writer
A Groveland Township man was arrested after he allegedly drove his vehicle into a Brandon Township gas station at M-15 and Glass Road.
William Edmonds was arrested a few hours after the incident.
At 2:29 a.m., Oct. 24 Brandon deputies were dispatched to the gas station following a report of a vehicle striking the building. Prior to arrival, dispatch informed that the driver had removed the plate and grabbed some papers from the vehicle and fled the scene on foot.
The two witnesses had already reported the plate number prior to the driver removing it and stated that the driver was a regular customer, identified as Edmonds. Witnesses said the man had come in and bought a beer and cracked it open then got into his vehicle parked near the pumps. He said that he was outside smoking when the driver started the truck and accelerated at a high rate of speed in the parking lot, turning 180 degrees and striking the gas pump island and then driving inside the building, stopping in the middle of the building.
Jury finds Berak guilty
By Shelby Stewart
Staff Writer
A Macomb County man has been found guilty of premeditated murder in the first degree and murder of a police officer following a trial and jury deliberation.
Christopher Berak, 24, was found guilty on Nov. 1 of killing Oakland County Sheriff Deputy Eric Overall, a deputy with the Brandon Substation, on Nov. 23, 2017.
“Today, we now have closure in the line of duty death of Deputy Eric Overall, who served his time at the Oakland County Sheriff’s Office with dignity, integrity, and grace,” said Oakland Count Sheriff Michael Bouchard. “His family friends and our agency have a void which will never be filled as a result of the tragic loss of Eric. His impact will not be forgotten. I applaud all the investigators from the Sheriff’s Office and outside agencies who assisted in this investigation and trial. Reliving the case has not been easy on anyone including Eric’s family and loved ones. I hope his wife Sonja and son Ken find some peace and solace now that his killer has been held responsible. Eric’s ‘Never Quit’ mantra represented everyone’s dedication to obtaining justice in this case.”

GTFD options considered
By David Fleet
Groveland Twp.-On Dec.9 the township board of trustees examined the structure of the fire department, the long term financial sustainability and the short/long term needs.
At issue is finding a plan for the township fire department financial projected shortfall. Township officials say that over the last 10 to 15 years, that given a fire department budget of $1.2 million about $26,000 per year is left over after expenses. The funds are not enough to buy and replace costly fire department equipment.
“We have been looking for the past two years at the fire department operation,” said Bob DePalma, township supervisor. “We have an interest in exploring solutions and we want to talk about those issues and make sure we understand before we move forward.”

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